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Right now, diamond moderators and users with at least 15k reputation can protect questions, though for non-moderators the question must be at least a day old. There's also an auto-protect mechanism for questions with three or more low-rep user deleted answers. Ideas to auto-protect questions with more than N answers haven't been implemented.

It seems that the absence of an entitlement for non-moderators to protect questions less than 24 hours old reflects the idea that one cannot easily judge whether a "fresh" question is in need of protection, and so only moderators should take such action. However, in case of a new question that rapidly attracts answers, assessing the need for protection is easier (if only by perusing the various answers). Therefore, I suggest to allow non-moderators to protect questions less than a day old if the question has attracted at least, say, 10 answers.

(My case in point is As an expert, can you always use TeX for (nearly) any kind of document? which was asked at January 23th at tex.sx. Perusing its first 10 answers, it seemed quite clear to me that the question attracted answers of varying quality by new users. When I was finally able to protect the question, the number of answers had risen to 15, and it is now at 18. 4 of the 15 answers preceding protection have a score of 0 or 1.)

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2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

The message currently reads:

This question is protected to prevent "thanks!", "me too!", or spam answers by new users.

On the post you cited, none of those answers appear to fit this criteria, unless some have been deleted (However, I admit I have zero knowledge in that field).

Perusing its first 10 answers, it seemed quite clear to me that the question attracted answers of varying quality by new users.

It sounds like you want to protect questions from boring answers by users with not much experience, not "Thanks!" or "Me too!" answers (which usually show up later, bumping the post to the front page). On active posts, those types of "answers" typically get flagged immediately or are uncommon, so it's not as much of an issue.

Of course, lots of answers of varying quality by new users is often a sign that the question could be closed as "not constructive".

I don't really have an opinion on your proposal, but if it is put in to action, I think there should be an assessment of what it means for a question to be "protected", and what the purpose is.

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The answer of user harsh seems to have misunderstood the question. Other than that, I agree that I maybe was to harsh (no pun intendend) by judging some answers as low quality. However, if "protecting" a question instead of closing it is a valid SO feature at all, I still think that 15k users should have been allowed to protect the question in point after answer no. 10. –  lockstep Jan 29 '12 at 3:14
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It looks like the OP wanted advice from experts, and a bunch of non-experts crashed the party. –  Wesley Murch Jan 29 '12 at 4:02

I'm not sure this will be widely useful. Questions that instantly attract tons of answers are often closed as "Not constructive" (possibly by the same 15k users).

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I agree that the "not constructive" reason to close will often apply, but the question in point has gathered 61 upvotes and produced two "Good Answers" so far. –  lockstep Jan 28 '12 at 11:59
    
@lockstep Just the wording of the title of that question begs me to vote to close it. –  Andrew Barber Jan 28 '12 at 20:09

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